The Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living director Professor Hans Westerbeek – who is leading research on footballs for the AFL – said a survey of players, umpires, administrators and ball manufacturers raised interesting questions.
On the critical performance aspects of the Australian football there was general agreement balls that were “kicked in” performed better than balls that were brand new, he said. But when it came to colour, opinions differed. “Most elite players and umpires preferred the yellow ball – saying they performed better – even when manufacturers unequivocally argue there is no difference whatsoever between yellow and red balls apart from colour. This is an intriguing finding as objectively there should be no difference in performance at all,” Professor Westerbeek said.
Meanwhile, most interviewees preferred to play with Sherrins and almost all interviewees commented on how inconsistent the shape and size of AFL match balls is.